Americas This Week: May 15, 2021

May 15, 2021

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in the Americas, usually posted on Saturdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

Protests against Venezuela’s Maduro regime in Caracas in March 2014. Venezuela has just set November 21, 2021 as the date for local and gubernatorial elections this year, although the opposition could boycott. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Wilfredor (CC1 1.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Chile Local and Regional Elections: May 15 and 16, 2021 and Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021 UPDATED May 17, 2021

Chile has delayed its local and regional elections, originally scheduled for April 11, 2021, to May. In addition, voters will elect all 155 members of a Constitutional Assembly, after a referendum in which Chileans voted to write a new constitution (and the new constitution will need to be approved by another referendum).

Chile is also due to hold presidential and legislative elections in November (with presidential primaries on July 4). These elections are taking place in the context of a year of protests and riots, including violent looting, arson, and vandalism. Furthermore, an intense debate over the new constitution continues. Incumbent president Sebastian Pinera, from the center-right Chile Vamos coalition, is not running for another term. He currently has low approval ratings, posing a challenge for his party’s candidate (who will be chosen in the July primary election). More

Buenos Aires Times (May 17, 2021): Chileans opt for ‘outsiders’ to draft post-Pinochet constitution

Eduardo Thomson and Valentina Fuentes, Bloomberg (May 17, 2021): Chilean Assets Slump as Government Suffers Crushing Vote Defeat

Fabian Cambero and Aislinn Laing, Reuters (May 16, 2021): Chileans head to polls to pick architects of new constitution

Catherine Osborn, Foreign Policy (May 14, 2021): Chile’s New Founding Mothers

Peru Presidential Runoff: June 6, 2021

Peru held general elections for April 11, 2021. These elections are coming on the heels of snap legislative elections that took place on January 26, 2020, and in the context of political turmoil – including the impeachment of President Martín Vizcarra and the subsequent “week of three presidents” – and an economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.

The presidential runoff will pit socialist Pedro Castillo against right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison for various crimes (Keiko is also currently facing criminal charges). Castillo came out of nowhere to win the first round. However, none of the 18 candidates received more votes than the number of blank ballots cast – a sign of voters’ deep frustration.  More

Manuel Farías, Reuters (May 16, 2021): Peru voter simulation shows Castillo and Fujimori now neck and neck

David Frum, The Atlantic (May 15, 2021): The Collapse of a Once-Promising Democracy

Eduardo Campos Lima, National Catholic Reporter (May 13, 2021): Like many in Peru, Catholics unsure who’ll get their vote for president

Mexico Legislative and Gubernatorial Elections: June 6, 2021

Mexico holds midterm legislative elections on June 6, 2021. These elections will be a key test for left-wing populist firebrand Andrés Manuel López Obrador (frequently called AMLO) ahead of the 2024 presidential election. In addition, 15 of Mexico’s 31 states will hold gubernatorial elections. More

Mexico News Daily (May 14, 2021): Another candidate killed in second most violent election season since 2000

Alejandro García Magos, openDemocracy (May 13, 2021): Is AMLO undermining democracy in Mexico?

Luis Chaparro, Business Insider (May 13, 2021): One of the DEA’s most-wanted men wants to be mayor of some of Mexico’s most violent territory

Reuters (May 11, 2021): Mexico’s president backs probe of opposition governor candidates

Haiti Parliamentary Elections: September 19, 2021 and Presidential Election: Due in November 2021 (delays possible)

Haiti plans to hold long-overdue legislative elections on September 19, 2021, and also has a presidential election due later this year. However, the country is currently in a political crisis related to allegations of fraud followed Haiti’s presidential 2015 election. The international community, including the United States government, has called on Haiti’s officials to set a date for elections and end the crisis.

Haiti plans to hold a constitutional referendum on June 27, although the United States has raised concerns that it would just cause more political turmoil while helping President Jovenel Moise consolidate power. More

Vincent Joos, World Politics Review (May 14, 2021): Haiti Is Slowly Becoming an Autocracy

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald (May 12, 2021): US urges OAS to quickly organize mission to Haiti as nation’s turmoil deepens

Nicaragua General Elections: November 7, 2021

Nicaragua holds general elections on November 7, 2021. President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power for 20 years, will seek another term, and under his rule, Nicaragua has become increasingly authoritarian, with rule of law and fundamental freedoms under assault.

AP (May 13, 2021): Nicaragua ruling party ups advantages in run-up to elections

Reuters (May 12, 2021): Ahead of general election, Nicaraguan archdiocese urges that abortion not be an election issue

Honduras General Elections: November 2021

Honduras holds presidential and legislative elections in November, following the March 14 primaries. These elections are taking place in the context of polarization and a crisis of legitimacy sparked in part by increasing authoritarianism. The 2017 elections were turbulent, with at least 30 people dying in protests over allegations of fraud, and many believe that there is potential for fraud in the upcoming elections. More

Reuters (May 12, 2021): Taiwan says China seeking political gain with Honduras vaccine move

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela has scheduled regional and local elections for November 21, 2021. In December 2020, Venezuela held legislative elections despite members of the opposition and international community calling for a delay in order to ensure credible, fair elections. Ultimately, most of the opposition boycotted.

The opposition is likely to boycott the regional elections as well. These elections are taking place in the context of ongoing politicalconstitutional, and humanitarian crises have been going on for years.  More

Reuters (May 13, 2021): Venezuela sets date for regional elections as opposition weighs participation

Colombia Presidential and Legislative Elections: Spring 2022 (due)

Colombia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. Conservative Ivan Duque, elected president in 2018, is constitutionally barred from running for re-election. One of the frontrunners to replace him is former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro, who placed second in 2018. The country has been rocked by riots in recent weeks. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests have grown, and dozens have died. 

Michael Stott, Financial Times (May 17, 2021): Colombia’s social unrest could spread across Latin America

Mauricio Cárdenas, Americas Quarterly (May 13, 2021): Colombia’s Crisis Is an Urban Youth Crisis. Old Solutions Won’t Work

Past Americas Elections

Ecuador Presidential Runoff: April 11, 2021

Ecuador held a presidential runoff on April 11, 2021. Conservative Guillermo Lasso, who edged out indigenous activist Yaku Pérez for a spot in the runoff, surprised many by decisively defeating left-wing economist Andrés Arauz, a protege of former president Rafael Correa (himself barred from running after being convicted of corruption). More

Reuters (May 16, 2021): Ecuador indigenous party wins National Assembly presidency, backed by Lasso

El Salvador Legislative and Local Elections: February 28, 2021

El Salvador held legislative and local elections on February 28, 2021. Allies of populist president Nayib Bukele won in a landslide, allowing him to consolidate his hold on the country with a legislative majority. Critics note growing authoritarianism. More

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times (May 16, 2021): El Salvador’s millennial president is a man with one vision: Power

Will Freeman, Foreign Policy (May 12, 2021): In Central America, Rule of Law Is Under Attack. El Salvador Is the Latest Victim

Americas Elections in 2021 and 2022

Chile Local and Constitutional Assembly Elections: May 15-16, 2021

Mexico Midterm Legislative Elections and Some Gubernatorial Elections: June 6, 2021

Peru Presidential Runoff: June 6, 2021

Aruba Parliamentary Elections: June 25, 2021

Haiti Constitutional Referendum: June 27, 2021

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: June 2021 (due – delays possible)

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: September 19, 2021

Paraguay Municipal Elections: October 10, 2021

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Nicaragua Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021

Honduras Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 28, 2021

Guyana Local Elections: Due in 2021

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Bahamas Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

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